Socceroos winger Awer Mabil is looking to cut ties Danish Superliga leaders Midtjylland, declaring the club have undervalued the impact he’s made since his arrival six years ago.
With league and cup winner medals in his locker, and the fulfilled dream of scoring in UEFA Champions League, Mabil says he’s achieved all he hoped to in Denmark, as a season in which he’s been granted just nine league starts by coach Brian Priske nears its climax.
Mabil, 25, turned down a $5 million move to a leading Belgium side last season, but feels ill rewarded for that show of loyalty.
“I’ve accomplished some career goals this season by playing in the Champions League and scoring in the competition, and in that sense, it’s been an achievement,” he explained.
“But in another sense, the season hasn’t gone the way I wanted.
“I’ve played 42 games (in all competitions) but only started nine league games which I find a bit strange. It doesn’t make sense.
“My role has changed this year and I haven’t liked that because I know my qualities and what I brought to the team last year in helping us qualify for the Champions League.
“I’ve sacrificed a lot for the club but I feel that’s been underappreciated.”
Mabil, who heads into FIFA World Cup action with Australia in Kuwait next month, suspects his slide down the pecking order is a consequence of his reluctance to enter into contract talks, with his gaze fixed on a move elsewhere in Europe.
“I’ve only got a year left and maybe the decision not to play me as much - well, you can do the math as to where that’s coming from,” he surmised.
“I think that’s been the biggest issue. On a business level I think the fact I haven’t re-signed is a big concern for them.
“This season I was going to fly really high because I think I’ve learned so much, and this was the time I was going to become the most complete in terms of my physicality and maturity.
“So, on a personal level, it’s been a wasted season in some ways but on a mental level, it’s made me very strong.”
Mabil feels he’s dispelled several misconceptions at Midtjylland since arriving from Adelaide as a pacy but still raw 19-year-old.
“First it was said that I didn’t have the end product, but I went on to produce the most assists two years ago,” he pointed out.
“Then it was ‘Awer can’t score goals, he only makes assists’. “But then last year I became the top scorer, plus one of the top assist players.
“When I first arrived I didn’t get much of a chance. I went on loan (to Esbjerg) and (Pacos de Ferreira, Portugal) and did well.
“I came back and it wasn’t until there were about four injuries in one day that they had no choice but to start me!
“The fans saw what I could do for the club - and from there I had to be part of the team.
“I’ve got special memories like making an assist for the most important goal in the club’s history to get us into the Champions League (group stage) for the first time.
“There has also been winning the league and the cup - things maybe I wasn’t supposed to achieve here.
“I think I’m ready for the next step and for that to happen this summer would be great.
“England is my ultimate dream and I still believe I can get there in the next couple of years.
“For now, maybe the next move is Germany, or maybe France or Belgium.
“I dream of playing in a World Cup - I am following my heart, not the money.
“I could return home now and be comfortable but I want to stay here and make that next move.”
Shunning the switch to Belgium still rankles with Mabil in terms of how this season has played out.
“The offer was there but I told the club I wanted to stay and help us qualify for the Champions League,” he said.
“Six months after we achieved that goal - and also my goal - things have turned.”